Okay kiddies - it's time to tear another page from the history of Carmen's past. Today I'll be reminiscing about the road trip I took from Fort Meade, Maryland to San Antonio, Texas.
So, I was working at the Department of Defense in Fort Meade, Maryland back in the day. I was hired on as a high school workstudy when I was 16 years old. It's funny how it worked out because I really had no idea what the Department of Defense was, I had only driven through Fort Meade once or twice and I had no desire to join the high school work study program. I was a cheerleader for god sakes!!
But, they came to my high school and gave all of us juniors a test. I scored pretty high and they came back to do an interview with me. After a few more interviews, 2 lie detector tests and a year long background investigation, I was granted a top secret security clearance and worked half days as a senior in high school. When I graduated from high school they hired me on full-time and eventually I took a job in the 24 hour Operations Center. It was a cool gig! I worked 6 days on and then I'd have 2 days off. We got overtime, extra pay differential when we worked nights and time and a half on Sundays. I worked a rotating shift that consisted of mids, swings and days and then every 8 weeks I had a week off and these were the times they wanted us to use to take our vacations.
So, I met tons of really cool people working in the Ops Center and I also found that mids (10 p.m. - 5 a.m.) were often very slow and boring. To entertain myself I would log onto the internal IRC (internet relay chat). It was a chat room on goverment computers, you had to have a top secret security clearance to access it and it was supposed to be used for work related purposes. There was always a laid back chit chatty room at nights though and I would get on there and talk to people in Texas, California, Japan, - everywhere really. I connected with army, navy, air force and marines stationed all over the world. They all had security clearances like I did so I felt that most of them were probably pretty safe.
So, I started talking to this guy stationed at an army base in San Antonio, Texas and we hit it off. We spent several months talking on the phone, talking over the computer, we traded pictures and made plans to hopefully meet in real life someday.
During this time I was good friends with two military guys, JP and Mike. They both worked in the OPS center with me and they both had fun with IRC as well. It just so happened that they became pretty friendly with two ladies stationed at the same army base in Texas!! I think we all know where this is leading - road trip!!!!!
There was only one hitch...
Mike didn't own a car, JP drove a small truck that definitely wouldn't make the trip to Texas and certainly wouldn't be comfortable for 3 people and I drove a convertible mustang that got TERRIBLE gas mileage and I was planning to sell it, so I didn't want to put the extra miles on it. So, we put our heads together and came up with a plan...
To be continued...